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Article: Position Battle: Fifth Starter

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:13 AM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...e-Fifth-Starter

#2 stringer bell

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 11:48 AM

This will be a focus throughout spring training. On field performance is just one component IMHO. It is going to take good managin' and general managin' to provide depth, allow talent to move forward, and put the best possible rotation together.

#3 Boom Boom

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:13 PM

The Twins are going to have to cut bait with at least one of these guys, whether it's in spring training or a couple months into the season. They'll need to open up a spot for Gibson sooner than later IMO.

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:41 PM

Gibson isn't young.....really wish that Pelfrey money was spent otherwise.....but he'll just sit in AAA for another half year, losing his value to the team, since his value is in actually playing in the majors. Sigh.

I think Worley wins the spot.

#5 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:57 PM

Gibson isn't young.....really wish that Pelfrey money was spent otherwise.....but he'll just sit in AAA for another half year, losing his value to the team, since his value is in actually playing in the majors. Sigh.

I think Worley wins the spot.


His value is coming up and staying up and becoming the 2-3 the Twins project him to be. Does it really matter if it takes another month or so?

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:18 PM

Nope, not if it takes a month or so. But my money is on the rotation they have and Worley, with Meyer and Gibson watching for at least half a year. If they think that is likely this year, why sign Pelfrey?
Lighten up Francis....

#7 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:26 PM

Nope, not if it takes a month or so. But my money is on the rotation they have and Worley, with Meyer and Gibson watching for at least half a year. If they think that is likely this year, why sign Pelfrey?


When have the Twins ever maintained the same five starters they opened with for half a year?

#8 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:28 PM

I agree with you on Swarzak. He posted a 2.91 ERA over 96 innings in 2013, and a 1.16 WHIP. More importantly, Swarzy survived Twinsfest with no wrestling injuries! Worley or Diamond can swap places with him in long relief. Either Pelfrey, Hughes, Nolasco, or Correia will extend their time in Florida with a sore shoulder or a pulled hammy. I also wonder what Deduno could do out of the pen, not unlike the Perkins conversion.

#9 mike wants wins

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:36 PM

I don't think we are going to agree. They have plenty of guys in AAA that could take Pelfrey's spot, I don't agree with the signing when you already have Deduno, Gibson, Meyer, Diamond, the lefty guy who's name I can't recall...I count 5 guys fighting for 2 spots. IMO, and I am not trying to convince anyone I am right, that's plenty, and that money and roster spot could have been used otherwise. We just disagree. No harm in that.
Lighten up Francis....

#10 beckmt

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:57 PM

I think it will be Deduno if healthy, Worley to the pen(he has worked there before) and Diamond to the waiver wire. That will be the best Twins result.

#11 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 02:42 PM

I think 5th starter spot is Worley's to lose given his NL record. I also suspect somebody will come up with a sore arm, hammy or shoulder which will give Diamond/Deduno a shot. The Twins should trade somebody when Meyer is ready (or Gibson).

#12 Kwak

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 02:52 PM

I don't think there will be a 5th starter. I think there will be a rotation of 4 starters, 4 spot-starters/long relief, 4 short relief/set-up/LOOGY, and 1 closer. There will be plenty of starts for the "spot" guys to display their wares and allow the flexibility to use a LHP (or RHP) based on match-up consideration as well as "go with the hot hand", yet provide cover for not reusing a "spot" guy because he had a poor game. The cover story is "options", flexibility to permit Gardenhire to use anybody he wants without a media circus due to using someone else to start a game. We have heard many times the word "options" with respect to pitching (plus this was the tactic used ten years ago). There really isn't a "defined" #5 guy anyway, so why claim there is one?

#13 JP3700

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:00 PM

My prediction is that Diamond wins the fifth spot.

As for Swarzak being in the rotation, I would do the opposite and put him into higher leverage innings out of the bullpen.

He was devastating against right handed batters last year.

[TABLE="width: 500"]
[TR]
[TD]4.56 K/BB[/TD]
[TD]57.0 GB%[/TD]
[TD].540 OPS against[/TD]
[TD]2.02 FIP[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

He doesn't have a weapon against left handed batters so he's more exposed as a starter and his fastball/curve plays up out of the pen. He might be able to add a tick or two on the fastball as well in shorter outings.

#14 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:02 PM

At this point, there are 3 injuries that have to happen before Gibson likely gets a shot. Possibly more if they were to decide Gilmartin, Johnson, or someone of that ilk is unexpectedly given preference.

I was really hoping we'd see the payoff from allowing him to sample the bigs last year and come in ready from the start this year. It's disappointing we may have to wait awhile to see that and who we have to watch in the meantime.

#15 twinsnorth49

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:44 PM

I don't think we are going to agree. They have plenty of guys in AAA that could take Pelfrey's spot, I don't agree with the signing when you already have Deduno, Gibson, Meyer, Diamond, the lefty guy who's name I can't recall...I count 5 guys fighting for 2 spots. IMO, and I am not trying to convince anyone I am right, that's plenty, and that money and roster spot could have been used otherwise. We just disagree. No harm in that.


For what it's worth, I agree with you.

#16 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:07 PM

At this point, there are 3 injuries that have to happen before Gibson likely gets a shot. Possibly more if they were to decide Gilmartin, Johnson, or someone of that ilk is unexpectedly given preference.

I was really hoping we'd see the payoff from allowing him to sample the bigs last year and come in ready from the start this year. It's disappointing we may have to wait awhile to see that and who we have to watch in the meantime.


I'm guessing Gibson is the first man up. By my count he's one injury or a poor start of the season by whomever wins the 5th spot away from Target Field. If the unthinkable happens and all 5 starters are healthy and having careers years, he may have to wait for Correia to be dealt.

Edited by howieramone, 21 February 2014 - 04:40 PM.


#17 Monkeypaws

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:33 PM

Good write-up Nick.

I'm rooting for the Vanimal. Deduno to the pen. I'm afraid Diamond will be the odd-man out.

My best hope for Gibson is that the Twins flip Correia for an asset at some point, and Gibson has pitched lights out in AAA.

#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:46 PM

I'm guessing Gibson is the first man up. By my count he's one injury or a poor start of the season by whomever wins the 5th spot away from Target Field. If the unthinkable happens and all 5 starters are healthy and having careers years, he may have to wait for Correia to be dealt.


He's also behind Worley, Diamond, and Deduno. Possibly also Swarzak, Gilmartin, Johnson. Remember, I said 3 injuries before he gets a spot and those first three are all very possibly ahead of him on the "if someone gets injured" list.

At some point Gibson needs to learn how to get big leaguers out. It's disappointing to not get to see that all year and even more disappointing why he's not getting that chance.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 21 February 2014 - 04:48 PM.


#19 twinsnorth49

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:46 PM

I'm guessing Gibson is the first man up. By my count he's one injury or a poor start of the season by whomever wins the 5th spot away from Target Field. If the unthinkable happens and all 5 starters are healthy and having careers years, he may have to wait for Correia to be dealt.


Which sadly brings up the question of why TR signed Correia for 2 years again.

#20 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:25 PM

He's also behind Worley, Diamond, and Deduno. Possibly also Swarzak, Gilmartin, Johnson. Remember, I said 3 injuries before he gets a spot and those first three are all very possibly ahead of him on the "if someone gets injured" list.

Worley, Diamond and Deduno are only ahead of Gibson because of their contract situations, and that will all get sorted out at the start of the season. I'd say that as long as he starts well in Triple-A, Gibson will likely be first in line to sub in.

Are people actually concerned about finding space for a deserving pitcher? Too much rotation stability would be a nice problem to have.

#21 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:33 PM

Worley, Diamond and Deduno are only ahead of Gibson because of their contract situations, and that will all get sorted out at the start of the season. I'd say that as long as he starts well in Triple-A, Gibson will likely be first in line to sub in.

Are people actually concerned about finding space for a deserving pitcher? Too much rotation stability would be a nice problem to have.


If that sorting out is two of them making the bullpen, then it still puts him behind three.

I'd feel a lot better about that finding space if it wasn't made more difficult by at least two guys ahead of him that I'm less than thrilled are there at all. Stability that isn't very talented or young or with much upside is not the kind of stability I want blocking Gibson.

#22 jimbo92107

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:37 PM

The Twins are going to have to cut bait with at least one of these guys, whether it's in spring training or a couple months into the season. They'll need to open up a spot for Gibson sooner than later IMO.


The least likely scenario is that everybody pitches just great. Most likely somebody will look awful, another guy will hurt himself, etc. We've all seen Gibson's stuff, which is borderline electric. He throws harder than the three main 5th starter candidates. In fact, he may be the guy that takes the place of one of the top 4, if one of them falters.

That said, with so many unknowns it's kind of futile to guess how it will shake out this spring. The Twins now have even more borderline starters, so worrying about one guy getting hurt isn't quite such a big deal.

Shoot, they're going to lose at least 85 again, aren't they?

#23 DocBauer

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:42 PM

I wasn't really in favor or against the Pelfrey sighing to be honest. I just felt after Nolasco and Hughes signed that bringing back Pelfrey was rather redundant since we had Correia. Not that they are exactly the same pitcher with the same style or stuff, just similar in quality level; a lot of starts and innings with a chance for double digit wins but about the same 4th or 5th starter level overall. I was hoping for one of a couple of LH's on the market just to break up the rotation.

But that ship has not only sailed, it has a strong headwind and is far out to see. And frankly, while not my ideal choice, I can't argue with the Twins thinking. And really, while debate is understandable, no-one else really should argue as well. Not after three years of loses and aweful SP filled with not only poor performance, but disappointment and injury besides. Brining someone back who has experience, at least some solid, proven seasons, wants to come back and is a quality teammate, and who should invariably be better a year removed from his surfer comeback, is not a negative signing. Especially at an affordable price and only one year locked n after this one. (Easier to cut and run if necessary)

I often make jokes about my crystal ball being in the shop. But if the Twins had one that worked, and KNEW Deduno would be back 100%, that Worley and Diamond would BOTH come in healthy and great shape and KNEW they would pitch to previous standards, and KNEW Gibson was strong and ready to stake a claim from day one, Pelfrey wouldn't have been signed. In fact, Correia and his solid performance from last season would have probably been moved somewhere else already, or at least soon.

But there is no guarantees of any of that taking place. So I can't begrudge additional depth with the Pelfrey signing. Furthermore, had they not signed him, and the aforementioned SP candidates fallen on their faces, everyone would be complaining they should have signed additional depth this past offseason.

All that being said, I will argue all day long Gibson is still a young pitcher. Not only is he far from ancient at 26, but he essentially missed a full season due to injury and rehab. You could argue his body and arm are only 25, if not younger, as many TJ patients claim their arms feel better than the years before. And he still only, really, has a little over one full season in AAA behind him. Last year was his "rehab" year. He was on pitch limitations, showed inconsistencies, polished things up, and then got promoted. Surprise, surprise, after an OK start or two he didn't look ready. Was he tiring? Was he trying too hard? Like many young players was he just a bit overwhelmed his first time up?

I'd love Gibson to come in tossing bullets, take command of the #5 spot and never look back. But even a few weeks at Rochester to continue stretching out, getting his legs under him while one of the other candidates begins the season in that slot, and then coming up strong and confidant because someone is injured, performs poorly, or he just forces the Twins to make a move, does nothing to detract from his future.

There are reasons to support Deduno, Worley and Diamond for the 5th spot. Deduno has the most nasty stuff, and if fully healthy, even if shows no improvement over what he did last year, he'd still be a quality and viable starter. Probably the best of the three. Worley was very solid initially with the Phillies before running in to an injury bug that slowed him. Then slowed him even more with his nightmare 2013. Healthy and slimmed down, we might see the pitcher we hoped to get, maybe even better. Diamond is LH, had a good milb track record despite average stuff, and was a real stalwart in 2012 until injury slowed him to close the season, and apparently affected him physically/mentally in 2013.

As has been pointed out in this thread, and by myself elsewhere before, very few teams escape ST with all projected SP's 100% healthy to begin a season. There are blisters, pulled muscles, twinges, etc. I think it's very possible at least one of our SP's begins the season the DL. There might be room to stash one pitcher n the pen, to at least begin the season.

I hate to simply cut bait on a young arm that has at least some potential, and has shown at least some MLB success, (which has been discussed at some length on TD threads). But I am also opposed to keeping those players around at the expense of other young, talented players; Thielbar, Tonkin and Pressly to name a couple. (Then again, you can break out the Gibson argument again for the bullpen)

And really, how many teams have let go a potential #5 SP and end getting burned by it?

I guess my whole point is things will tend to play themselves out. It's way too early to become stressed out as to what will happen and who deserves what. Don't misunderstand, speculation and hope and debate are awesome. And until we begin to actually play games, it's all we have. Lol

But for the first time in a very long time, we have real depth and real options at our team's disposal. And that doesn't even include the likes of Meyer and May on the horizon.

#24 wabene

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:51 PM

Good write-up Nick.

I'm rooting for the Vanimal. Deduno to the pen. I'm afraid Diamond will be the odd-man out.

My best hope for Gibson is that the Twins flip Correia for an asset at some point, and Gibson has pitched lights out in AAA.


I'm with MP. The whole point of upgrading the talent is some lose out. Diamond is out. When somebody gets hurt or unperforms move on to the next. Let's create some competition and urgency for these guys. A job on a mlb staff should have to be fought for. Last couple years we complain about these guys so if we lose one or two what's the problem?

#25 DocBauer

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:56 PM

Lest we forget, whoever starts the season on a 12 man staff, is not necessarily who is on staff come May or June.

Just a hunch, but knowing from past experience how these things play out, and how recovering players claim to be ready to ready only to have set backs and need more time, and how teams can play with rosters a bit, I expect Deduno to spend a couple weeks or so in EST and/or milb rehab with Gibson at Rochester to begin the season, with Worley and Diamond on the ML roster at the expense of 2 of the three of Thielbar, Pressly and Tonkin. It's possible they could even alternate between the rotation and the pen early on.

I would expect at least one to traded or waived a month in to the season, with subsequent promotion. And I believe Gibson to be up by first of June due to the same, or injury, with a trade or Correia a strong possibility by then.

#26 chuchadoro

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:01 PM

My prediction is that Diamond wins the fifth spot.

As for Swarzak being in the rotation, I would do the opposite and put him into higher leverage innings out of the bullpen.

He was devastating against right handed batters last year.

[TABLE="width: 500"]
[TR]
[TD]4.56 K/BB[/TD]
[TD]57.0 GB%[/TD]
[TD].540 OPS against[/TD]
[TD]2.02 FIP[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

He doesn't have a weapon against left handed batters so he's more exposed as a starter and his fastball/curve plays up out of the pen. He might be able to add a tick or two on the fastball as well in shorter outings.


Good stuff regarding Swarzak, it could make Burton (more) expendable. I hope someone not named Scott Diamond wins that fifth spot, though.

#27 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:11 PM

All the complaining about Correia and Pelfrey will dissipate if one of them comes in and mows down lineups. In any case, as assets, veteran pitchers are highly tradeable commodities, especially if they are still throwing well in July. I like what the Twins have done, and if they have a surplus, that's a great problem to have. Likely though, one or two of the veterans will either suck or get injured and then it will be time to try the kids. Never have enough pitching, especially quality, veteran starters. So open the stable doors and let's see who can bring it in '14.

#28 Thrylos

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:18 PM

I don't think we are going to agree. They have plenty of guys in AAA that could take Pelfrey's spot, I don't agree with the signing when you already have Deduno, Gibson, Meyer, Diamond, the lefty guy who's name I can't recall...


The point is that other than Gibson maybe (and Meyer - whom the Twins will not make super-2 by any means) nobody of those is as good as Pelfrey. And Pelfrey is six and a half months younger than Deduno (for reference.) And if someone is knocking on the door, what they owe Correia will be negligible enough to jettison him mid-season if not performing.

Again (as with the centerfield question) the question should be who of this bunch of pitchers will make the Twins a better team if he wins that spot and I think that's Worley, because he has the highest potential of the non-option bunch... Frankly, I think that behind Nolasco, Hughes and Pelfrey, the Twins would be better off with Worley and Meyer in the last 2 spots, but this is not happening any time soon...
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#29 Sconnie

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:24 PM

I find it preposterous to complain about too many starting pitching options after last season. It's great that TR isn't banking on Deduno to repeat last year (or be healthy which is yet to proved) or Gibson to be ready, or Diamond to repeat 2012, or every NL soft tosser to be AL caliber. Someone will fail/get injured.

Gibson will become a regular starter this season, but at least it doesn't have to be opening day or we can't fill out the roster.

#30 Sconnie

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:28 PM

And I agree with Thrylos about Pelfrey. Once he hit his stride and before he tuckered out, he was by far the best pitcher on the staff. 2 years after surgery brings me optimism.